Apollo 18: A Review

At the start of the viral marketing campaign for Apollo 18, The Dome pointed out that found footage projects were a cheat in storytelling. While the marketing aspect plays a role in the overall experience of the film, I was curious to see if the film could hold it’s own as a space thriller.

First off, I saw none of the viral marketing for Apollo 18, so I went into the movie without any exposure other than the trailer. Since I don’t follow any movie sites, I missed any mention of the viral aspect of the film after the launch of the campaign. After doing some research, I’m not sure if what was available would have kept my interest. I remember in 2007, the Cloverfield viral marketing kept me interested in the film, and while I thought the film was okay, the viral campaign added to the experience as a whole.

As for Apollo 18, well, I can honestly say that I thought it was average, at best. It’s kind of hard to ignore the scientific inaccuracies of a found footage film set in space. The film is set in 1974, and has some discussion on the space race with Soviet Russia, I feel the significance of this time period lost on a generation where the space program is more of an international effort. Perhaps this is the Achilles heel of the found footage formula. The film does not have a real chance to build the type of tension necessary to make the space race relevant. Perhaps those points where made in the viral marketing? As of this writing, I’m unable to get onto any of the viral websites, including www.lunartruth.com.

One strength of the movie is the effort to create the semblance of the film and low-fi video that would come from 1974. The camera angles and frames take that amateur effort approach, and it’s played off beautifully. One complaint I read online was the fact that there were so many shaky cam scenes, which made the movie less desirable. I’ve heard the same complaints from everything the Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield, and those films were moderate found footage successes.

Overall, Apollo 18 does not bring any big-screen magic. It’s nothing original, but it is entertaining.

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